SSC Napoli and Juventus are embroiled in a toe to toe battle to win the Serie A this season, with 4 points separating Juventus, who have a game in hand, from the leaders Napoli. Napoli’s season has been incredible, winning 22 out of their 26 games, losing only to Juventus. What happens this weekend could very well shape up the title race. If Juventus drop points, they might risk falling behind, making it very very difficult to catch up.
Juventus face one of their arch-rivals in SS Lazio, the team which has fought many a battles with the Turin club for the title in the past. Lazio have an explosive side which is full of goals and flair. At home, Lazio have been scoring goals regularly, that too in numbers. Ciro Immobile has been in devastating form this season, scoring 23 goals in 23 Serie A games and 32 goals this season. The midfield mainstays Lucas Leiva, Sergej Milinkovic-Savic and Marco Parolo have been playing well together, scoring and assisting a lot of goals. Overall, Lazio is a team full of goals and defensive uncertainties.
Juventus, on the other hand, are struggling, with star striker Paulo Dybala just coming back from an injury, with Gonzalo Higuain out due to an injury. But their midfield has been one of the best in the league, covering the most distance and tactically keeping the game ticking in the middle third. Matuidi and Pjanic have been in brilliant form all season, and Juventus need Douglas Costa and Mario Mandzukic to have a big game if they want to keep pace with SSC Napoli at the top of the table.
Lazio vs Juventus - Saturday, March 3rd, 22:30 IST
SSC Napoli, on the other hand, are on a high. They thrashed Cagliari 5-0 on Monday, and have benefitted by a wipe out of Juventus vs Atalanta game, which has increased they lead on top of the table to 4 points. Callejon, Mertens and Insigne have been scoring a lot of goals, but it is their midfield trio, Hamsik, Allan and Zielinski, who have been the real backbone of the team. Hamsik has carried the team on his shoulders all season, with the injury to Jorginho, their star midfielder, seemingly forgotten.
AS Roma, on the other hand, are struggling. The January Transfer Window had turned the head of Edin Dzeko, who was a high priority target of Chelsea. He has not been able to recoup his goal scoring form since, which has affected Roma. They have lost against Juventus, Atalanta, Sampdoria and Milan in the recent past, with the aged midfield not good enough to keep pace with their opposition and the defence making mistakes uncharacteristic of them. The emergence of Cengiz Under is the only positive for Roma in the last two months, and he will be crucial for Roma if they are to get anything out of this game.
SSC Napoli vs AS Roma - Sunday, March 4th, 01:15 IST
The biggest game of the season, a game which has been losing its popularity and importance, is the Milan derby. San Siro will be painted red on Sunday night, with a revitalised Milan under Gattuso taking on a struggling Inter under Luciano Spalletti. Milan have been resurgent in the second half of the season, with Bonucci getting back to his best, Calhanoglu finally looking like the Bayer Leverkusen star which made Milan buy him, and a young Patrick Cutrone tearing up oppositions and scoring goals regularly. The defence has stopped conceding goals in heaps, with 7 clean sheets since the winter break.
Inter on the other hand, were in a downward spiral. They have collected just 12 points in their last 11 Serie A games, losing against Sassuolo and Udinese. They have just started to turn things around, with a win over Benevento and Bologna sandwiching a defeat to Genoa. Perisic and Candreva are misfiring, Icardi is out injured and nobody, not even Spalletti knows which Inter will turn up for the derby. The game could act as a perfect preparation for Milan, who take on London giants Arsenal in the Europa League on Thursday. On current form, Milan look like clear favourites, but only time will tell if Inter can turn up like they did in the first Milan derby of the season.
AC Milan vs Internazionale - Monday, March 5th, 01:15 IST
Before the Milan derby though, two entertaining sides in Sampdoria and Atalanta lock horns in a 6 pointer which could decide Europa League positions. Sampdoria have been doing well, with Quagliarella and Gaston Ramirez exciting the fans, while Atalanta are not bulkheads either. The game could be the perfect appetiser before the Milan derby, and you can expect a lot of goals in the game.
Atalanta vs Sampdoria - Sunday, March 4th, 19:30 IST